March is Women’s Month. It is a reminder of the roles that women play in our lives. They are mothers to our children, sisters, daughters, wives and natural born entrepreneurs.
Most micro entrepreneurs in the Philippines are women. This can be observed from those who borrow from MFIs and rural banks. Women in politics are also becoming quite common, as we have PGMA who has been the longest serving president next to Marcos. The impact of women power is surely strongly felt compared to a decade ago. More women are taking important roles in our society.
PGMA leads awarding of the GO NEGOSYO INSPIRING WOMEN OF THE YEAR Leonarda Camacho, Marixi Prieto, Rosalind Wee, Tina Medina, Winnie Monsod, Mercedes Lopez-Vargas (representative of Gina Lopez), Pilita Corrales, and Linda Legaspi, together with PLDT SME Nation’s Kat Luna-Abelarde, PCW Chair Myrna Yao, Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion.
March last year, 15,000 women (and men) crammed one of the halls of the World Trade Center (WTC). We had only one hall as the venue for our first Go Negosyo Women Entrepreneurship Summit, in celebration of the Women’s Month. We were overwhelmed by the results, as a lot of Filipinos attended and religiously participated in our programs for the whole day despite the crowded venue.
This year, we opened two halls to accommodate more participants and opened more booths for exhibitors. The response was also even more overwhelming as approximately 20,000 Filipinos mostly women flooded the WTC. The streets going to the venue was already heavy with traffic. Getting inside the gate and the compound was already a challenge. Getting through the entrance and making your way near the stage was also next to impossible, given the volume of the attendees, especially during the morning.
An estimate of 20,000 people flooded the World Trade Center for the second Go Negosyo Women Entrepreneurship Summit last March 8, 2010.
The standing crowd was also proof that our programs and activities last March 8 was worth the sacrifice and leg cramps. WTC’s air conditioning system wasn’t also able to handle the number of people. It became a little hot inside when the crowd started piling up. The red hot numbers from our entertainers and the impact of our guests and speakers also added to the effect. This second Go Negosyo Women Entrepreneurship Summit is, by far, one of our most successful activities. We are proud that we were able to mount a program that has well benefited a lot of Filipinos, most especially the women in our society.
Preparing this summit was no joke. We worked with various groups and organizations to make sure that we present the best that we had to offer. The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) is one of the groups that worked with us for the success of this women summit. Lead by Chair Myrna Yao, who is also the Founder and COO of Richwell Trading Corp., PCW is an advisory body on programs and policies on the advancement of women. They have a strengthened advocacy on the development of programs and projects that would push for women empowerment. Formerly known as the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, PCW has been our partner in pushing for an entrepreneurship advocacy in the women sector since the first summit.
My last Tagumpay column featured the Inspiring Women of the Year Awardees. It was truly amazing to see such women of stature grace our summit. They continue to inspire a lot of Filipinas (and Filipinos) all over the country, as they belong to different sectors in society. One of the nine women who won a special award from Unilever was blind. Tina Medina is a teacher at the Laguna Resettlement Community School. She was applauded by the other inspiring women because despite her disability, she did not stop from pursuing a teaching career.
One of the highlights of the women entrepreneurship summit was the launch of our 5th book entitled “Tagumpay Mula sa Kahirapaan”. I felt that it was important to feature stories of small entrepreneurs from all over the country who are confronted with poverty. They chose to fight and triumph over their challenges in life. It is not about their level of success. The inspiration comes from what motivated them and gave them the passion to conquer poverty. These are simple stories that touch the heart. Hopefully, those who read this book and those who are in similar situations will be encouraged not to give up.
We are thankful to the 100 small entrepreneurs who took time and travelled all the way from their regions and provinces from all over the country to attend the summit. Their presence and march towards the stage to be recognized by the audience and no less than Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo brought smiles to their faces. PGMA was very pleased that a big number of the 100 small entrepreneurs were part of her One Town One Product (OTOP) project. OTOP has been her center piece, for the development of entrepreneurs in the country side.
It was a memorable sight as the summit was also in recognition of the enterprising attitude, tagumpay stories, and entrepreneurial journeys of the small entrepreneurs all over the country. The 100 stories featured in the book and the featured entrepreneurs in the event are representations of the hard work, perseverance and winning attitude of the MSME sector in the Philippines. Through this book, we also acknowledge the micro finance institutions, rural banks and cooperatives that served as mentors to MSMEs. These organizations are the support systems of these entrepreneurs.
PGMA raises Go Negosyo’s fifth book, GO NEGOSYO Joey Concepcion’s 100 Inspiring Stories of Small Entrepreneurs: Tagumpay Mula sa Kahirapan, presented by Mr. Go Negosyo Joey Concepcion, as the 100 entrepreneurs featured in the book are also acknowledged by DTI Sec. Peter Favila, Cong. Antonio Roxas, PCW Chair Myrna Yao, Former DA Sec. Arthur Yap, DepEd Sec. Jesli Lapus, and Citibank Philippine Country Officer Sanjiv Vohra.
The new Tagumpay book also recognizes the assistance provided by government to MSMEs through the Department of Trade and Industry, National Livelihood Development Corporation, Landbank of the Philippines, and the Office of the President. Over the years, through various government programs and projects in cooperation with private sectors, there has been easier access to entrepreneurship education and assistance to MSMEs.
March 8 was a celebration of many things. Aside from the inspiring women awardees and the 100 tagumpay entrepreneurs, we also celebrate women entrepreneurs. We congratulate the countless women negosyantes in the Philippines that composes majority of the country’s entrepreneurs.
Our Filipina women are the greatest assets, and we men are lucky to have women who have been the anchor in our lives. They take care of the family and find ways to make sure that the family is always secure and protected. This is why women are naturally born entrepreneurs.
Let us continue to celebrate the women in our lives. It does not need to be women’s month to realize their importance and make them feel special. We are blessed to have our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. Let us be proud of every woman we meet on the street everyday. Respect their rights and celebrate women empowerment. Congratulations to all Filipinas.